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Can You Identify This Shell?

Article about: Sorry for not replying to these as its quite hard to get WiFi in the Belgian mountains. Thanks to the people who actually attempted to identify it instead of having a go at me for picking it

  1. #1

    Default Can You Identify This Shell?

    I'm in France at the moment on holiday and I've been doing some field walking picking stuff up but haven't found anything that interesting (just bits of shrapnel and a fuse) but I found a shell that a farmer had left by the side of his field. The farmer was in the field plowing and he saw us and stopped and came over to have a chat. He told us he finds them all the time because his fields are so close to Vimy Ridge. He was very friendly to my surprise(I was expecting him to shout at us). He let me pick it up and take a few pictures but I'm not sure what type it is. It was about 12 inches long and very heavy for its size. Fancy having a go identifying it for me?

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    Sorry I couldn't take more photos as we were in a hurry to get to Vimy Ridge to pay our respects.

  2. #2


    'He let me pick it up and take a few pictures'. Now why would you want to pick up a live shell, without even knowing what it is? Could even be a gas shell.

  3. #3


    My advice, leave the thing alone and call the authorities.
    And that is a completely irresponsible action from the farmer, leaving the shell there.

  4. #4


    My advise is run away!......
    It's a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers.

    I'm Spartacus, not really i'm Paul!...

  5. #5


    Familiarity breeds contempt as they say - the attitude of the French farmer sounds typical and I have frequently seen them throw shells to the edge of the fields - they usually collect them up later and pile them in a designated spot for the demineurs to pick up on their rounds. Looks like this one has been ploughed up before as someone has chiselled the drive band off for scrap! I have watched them do this too (from a distance!). Seems crazy to us, but they have grown up with them most do know the difference between different types of shell and give gas shells a wide berth.

    Without any scale I would guess British 18pdr HE - Oh! and I would not be accepting his invitation to pick it up either

  6. #6


    As Nick says, looks like its a British 18 pounder, the standard British artillery shell of WW1.

  7. #7


    I am by no means an expert, But does that fuse head look german??? I have a german 88 fuse head and it looks like it. Just asking.... I know someone with far more knowledge than I will pipe in on this. And yes messing with live shells is taking your life in your own hands.

    I specialize in M1 carbines and Lugers.

  8. #8


    Looks like a British 18lber.

    Yet again I despair. When will people learn that, just because something has been in the ground for 100 years DOES NOT mean it is safe !! Ordnance is designed to kill, and it will still quite happily do so. Please leave old ordnance alone in future. A French farmer is hardly an expert in the stability of old artillery shells!!

  9. #9


    possible british shrapnel shell,looks like the one I have at home.[its safe].

  10. #10


    Unfortunately the French farmers have become accustomed to dealing with ordnance by leaving it beside the road awaiting pick up by the local authorities, tourists and such are naturally curious and are often seen being photographed beside shells and other pieces,the temptation to pick these things up more often outweighs the danger,in fact quite a number of local people are killed every year,including farmers,either by explosion or puncturing a gas shell, when this happens the immediate area has to be policed or evacuated.To avoid becoming part of a large hole in the ground and a red mist,, DONT TOUCH THE LIVE SHELLS

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